I asked Tom Kopko why we were considering a convention in the middle of August on the last day of the County fair and when so many people are out of town, having made plans months ago.
His response was cogent and rational:
... to meet the August 25 nomination deadline for the Nov 7 ballot and to give candidates and our eventual nominee the maximum amount ofcampaigning time for their respective races.
SBE, RPV and I are together struggling to determine what the law actually says, and what is likely to occur, about the special election underdifferent confirmation and/or resignation date scenarios. There are grey areas, especially when it comes to practical and logistical matters.
In the meantime, I am trying to make sure we are best prepared to meet any scenario. The worst-case scenario of an August 25 nomination deadline caused me to plan for an Aug 19 convention date, if it is needed.
I support planning for an August 19th convention under those conditions -- we certainly don't want to miss a deadline.
But preparing for the worst case, and actually holding a convention before the position is even open are too different things. As I hold out little hope that Sean's nomination will be concluded before the Senate's August recess, I think having an August 19th nominating convention would be a mistake.
There's just something about asking for a final decision from prospective nominees before there is even a position for them to attain to that is wrong.
For example, what if there is a non-public-official person out there who would consider jumping into the race. They may not have the luxury of running for office and keeping their current job, so in order to commit to the process they might have to take a leave of absense. Well, it's one thing to do so if you know you will have a chance at a part-time job as chair in a couple of months.
But what if the position isn't even open, and there is no guarantee it will EVER be open? What if you have to wait until November 2007? Who is going to jeopardize their real job for that?
OK, it's kind of a silly argument -- Supervisors are part-time workers, so they usually keep their jobs or some kind of outside employment anyway. And most employees I guess wouldn't have a problem with giving an employee some time off to test the political waters (I don't really know).
The point is, there could be people out there who are not ready to jump into a short-cycle competition for this position, because they don't have a political campaign organization now. If we have to choose by August 19th because the election is in November, then that's just how it is. But if the election isn't going to be until next March, I think we would all benefit from a nomination convention that was held closer to that date, giving other prosepective candidates a chance to see what they can put together.
I'm not saying we NEED different candidates, or implying there is anything wrong with the current crop of candidates. i'm just saying I hate to get rushed into picking a candidate for an election that could well be a year away for all we know.
I may end up being persuaded otherwise, but for now that would be my position at the July 31st meeting. Have the convention if absolutely necessary, but not if there is no position open yet -- even if we can find some lawyer to tell us it's OK.